In Act III, Scene 1, of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the "Ides of March have come" as the soothsayer tells Caesar. But, he ignores the warning and refuses to read the message of Artimdedorus. Consequently, the conspirators are able to slay the ruler. After they stab Caesar repeatedly, Anthony, who has been led away by Trebonius, Antony's servant comes to Brutus and the others and asks for permission on behalf of Antony to speak. Against the advice of Cassius, Brutus agrees.
Knowing what an idealist Brutus is, Antony takes a chance and tells the conspirators that he is ready to die if they wish:
I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard,
Now, whilst your purpled hadn do reek and smoke,
Fulfill your pleasure. Live a thousand years,
I shall not find myself so apt to die;
No place will please me so, no mean of death,
As here by Caesar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master spirits of this age. (III,i,156-168)
Here Antony takes a great risk, but his servant, in repeated his persmission, has probably also relayed the words of Brutus, "Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman; I never thought him worse" (III,i,138-139). So, Marc Antony understands that Brutus is so much of an idealist that he is unrealistic about the motives of others. Therefore, counting on this idealism of Brutus, he feigns his readiness to be assassinated alongside Caesar.
By saying these words in the presence of Brutus and the others, Antony has them off guard, so to speak. Then, when he does give his funeral oration, the conspirators do not at first suspect him of wanting to undermine their "noble" cause until it is too late and Antony has the Roman crowd incensed and a bloody civil war commences.
The meaning of Marc Antony's monologue becomes even more apparent to the audience after the conspirators leave. For, in his soliloquy, Antony reveals his true feelings as well as his intentions: He places a curse upon the "limbs of men";
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use (III,i,261-265)